View Full Version : Regular Season Indicators of Championship Success

11-16-2010, 02:58 PM
This is an interesting article. The question being posed is whether blowing out bad teams or barely beating the good teams is a better indicator of playoff success.

"Stomps" = blowing out a bad team (10+ point win against below .500 teams) "Guts" = close wins against a good team (less than 5 point win against above .500 teams).

Here is the quick and dirty:
The team with more stomps entering the conference and NBA finals wins the series 55.5% of the time.
The team with more guts entering the conference and NBA finals wins the series 52.2% of the time.
**all stats were compiled since the NBA-ABA merger...

Historic NBA data indicates that the ability to blow out bad teams is a better indicator of conference and nba finals success than the ability to win close games against good teams.

Here is the entire article if you are interested:

11-16-2010, 10:04 PM
The great thing about this stat is the majority of people would assume that a "gut" is more valuable. This always relates to how point differential is typically a good indicator as well. A big win > a close win no matter who the opponent.

11-16-2010, 10:40 PM
precisely... pretty interesting findings really...

11-17-2010, 07:38 PM
Beat me to it, Dale. :)

11-17-2010, 09:25 PM
Saw that Tommy Beer had tweeted about the below info this morning, and wanted to post it. It's not exactly predicative of champions per se, but I think it's closely related since it is predicative of making the playoffs or not in the first place (at least in the single season results that Beers found). I'd like to see this research extended to more seasons, and taken to a more detailed degree (eg. is being in the top 5 of lowest opponent eFG% allowed predicative of reaching the conference finals/finals?).

Anyhow, here's the relevant part for the stats forum. The post is actually Knicks-specific, and if you want to read the whole thing, the link is here (http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=17920).


...Teams that are stout defensively don't often endure prolonged losing streaks – defense tends to be more reliable than offense.... It is almost impossible to post a winning record when you are that porous defensively. That is not opinion, that's fact.

In researching the correlation between defense and winning in the NBA, I uncovered these stats from last season:

* There were 12 teams in the NBA last season that allowed opponents to shoot over 46.5% from the field. Every single one of those 12 teams failed to qualify for the postseason.

* On the other hand, there were 12 teams in the NBA last season that held their opponents to a FG% of 45.2% or less. All 12 of those teams made the playoffs.


Last week, I asked D'Antoni if there was a specific metric or measurement which he would us a barometer to judge this Knicks defensive progress. Here's his response: "We always look at effective field-goal percentage. We look at blocked shots, we look at charges, we look at deflections. There are a lot of things. But the biggest stat is wins. If you play good defense, you're going to win…"

D'Antoni concluded with this: "If I had to point to one thing, I'd go with effective field-goal percentage."

First, a quick explanation of 'effective field-goal percentage' (or eFG%, as it is often notated). The formula to calculate eFG% = (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA. For those non-math majors out there, here is a laymen's description from basketballreference.com: "This statistic adjusts for the fact that a 3-point field goal is worth one more point than a 2-point field goal. For example, suppose Player A goes 4 for 10 with 2 threes, while Player B goes 5 for 10 with 0 threes. Each player would have 10 points from field goals, and thus would have the same effective field goal percentage (50%)."

Looking at eFG% of good teams vs. bad teams last season, a pattern emerges that is very similar to the unadjusted FG% rankings outlined above.

During the 2009-2010 NBA season, of the 13 teams that finished at the very bottom of the barrel in regards to opponent's eFG%, all 13 teams (including the Knicks) ended up in the lottery and failed to advance to the postseason.

Conversely, of the top nine teams that ranked highest by allowing the lowest opponent's eFG% (Orlando, Miami, Cleveland, San Antonio, OKC, LA Lakers, Chicago, Milwaukee, Boston) all nine qualified for the playoffs.